Solitude: Spiritual Balm for the Soul

As human beings we are by nature social creatures. We thrive on our interactions with others from the moment we are born. Social interaction plays a significant part in our development during all stages of our life. We learn of the expectations society places on us and how we may best meet those expectations, and we form our own expectations of the world around us. We become part of the fabric of the collective flow which is known as Society.

However, another vital part of our personal world is solitude, that time and space that is uniquely and wholly our own, where we escape to when we need a break from the world around us. Make no mistake, there is a vast difference between solitude and loneliness. Solitude is a place of mental decompression, regrouping, quiet personal reflection, and peace of mind. Loneliness is devoid of these things, being instead a place of isolation and mental stress. Solitude is a choice; loneliness is not.

In solitude we find ourselves, apart from the expectations society places upon us and who we “should” be. We connect with the person we truly are and our own feelings and ideas of, “Where did I come from? Why am I here? For what purpose?” It is where much personal growth, learning, and healing takes place.

Those who are uneasy with this kind of personal introspection, for whatever reason, will experience the negativity of loneliness in these instances rather than the welcome peacefulness of solitude. Loneliness does not look for personal reflection. Loneliness avoids it. When something deep inside is not as we wish it to be, solitude becomes loneliness and feels like an inescapable prison. With loneliness comes isolation and fear. With solitude comes personal growth and inner peace, an awakening of the Spirit.

It is our responsibility to go deep within ourselves and discover the components of our own loneliness, and then to deal with those components in whatever manner we deem necessary in order to resolve them and find instead our own place of solitude. If there are deep-seated personal issues that need to be addressed, then it is up to us to determine what action we need to take in order to address and deal with them. Oftentimes professional help is needed and that is perfectly fine. Be aware that many people believe, erroneously, that the answer lies in substances, drugs or alcohol. Help with issues related to loneliness (or anything else) is never found in drugs or alcohol. Once you have identified and acknowledged what it is that is causing you to remain trapped in loneliness, it can be dealt with and you can then find your beautiful place of solitude and peace.

Spending time in this place with yourself not only helps you on a personal level, you will find you are a more productive, well-adjusted member of society and that daily stressors that have many running for the bar at the end of the work day have little effect on you. Herein lies the beauty of solitude. You must be comfortable with yourself as an individual before you can be comfortable being surrounded by other individuals and being a part of their world as well as allowing them into yours.

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